Over 300 U.S. Rabbis Urge Israel to Stop Selling Arms to Myanmar Amid Ethnic Cleansing Campaign

Haaretz reported earlier this week that Israel continued to sell weapons to Myanmar even after evidence emerged of the atrocities taking place against the Rohingya Muslim minority group

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar on their way to the refugee camps in Palang Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh October 19, 2017.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar on their way to the refugee camps in Palang Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh October 19, 2017. JORGE SILVA/REUTERS

WASHINGTON - More than 300 rabbis from across the United States have signed a petition calling on the Israeli government to stop selling weapons to Myanmar, which is committing what the UN have called an "ethnic cleansing" of the country's Rohingya Muslim minority group.

Haaretz reported earlier this week that Israel continued to sell weapons to Myanmar even after evidence emerged of the atrocities taking place in the country's northwestern Rakhine State. 

The petition was organized by T'ruah, an organization of rabbis and cantors committed to human rights. Among those who signed it included Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Reform Movement; Rabbi David Saperstein, who was the United States' Ambassador for Religious Freedom under the Obama administration; and Rabbi Jack Moline, a Conservative rabbi who leads the Interfaith Alliance, a group representing hundreds of clergy leaders from 75 different faith groups in the United States. 

The rabbis call on the Israeli government to halt its arms sales to Myanmar, and on the United States government to stop military training programs with the Myanmar military. The petition highlights the fact that more than 50 Israeli rabbis, as well as different human rights organizations in Israel, have made similar pleas to the Israeli government. 

Their petition states that "China, Russia and India continue to be the primary enablers of the Burmese military. But as American citizens and as Jews, we refuse to accept any involvement by the U.S. or Israel in training or arming a military that is carrying out a brutal ethnic cleansing against a minority population." 

It also states that "our commitment to 'never again' compels us to take action to protect today's victims of ethnic cleansing."